Smarter Work Zones (Team Page)

Overview of Innovation

Managing traffic during construction is necessary to minimize travel delays, ensure motorist and worker safety, maintain access to local businesses and residences, and complete road work on time. While several options are available to ensure efficient work zones, this initiative focuses on two strategies: road project coordination and technology application, especially queue management and speed management (e.g., variable speed limits (VSL).

Project coordination involves “smarter planning” of roadway construction in a manner that minimizes work zone impacts and produces time and cost savings. Cities and regions around the country are realizing benefits from synchronizing projects at various levels, including combining multiple projects in a corridor or network, correlating right-of-way acquisition and utility work, and coordinating work between different transportation agencies.

Technology applications such as queue management and speed management involve “smart traffic control” applied in the work zone environment. Queue management systems, especially when coupled with traffic information strategies, can help alert drivers when there is a line of vehicles ahead caused by a work zone, and then they can prepare to slow down safely. Speed management solutions, especially VSL, dynamically manage work zone traffic based on real-time conditions (e.g., congestion, weather). Combining VSL with automated enforcement can increase driver compliance with the displayed speed limits. Both queue and speed management utilize a range of technologies for detection, including Bluetooth sensors, probe vehicles, and other methods. 

Implementation Team

Implementation Plan: Working Draft

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